BLACKBURN Hawks have completed the signing of defenceman Luke Boothroyd and re-signed local lads Ollie Lomax and James Riddoch as head coach Steve Duncombe starts to shape his squad for the new season.

The Hawks overcame a poor start to the 2016-17 campaign to finish third in the NIHL Moralee Conference before losing in the play-offs to Billingham Stars.

But planning is already under way for the new campaign and Duncombe is delighted with the deals done so far.

Boothroyd joins from English Premier League side Manchester Phoenix who folded last season while skipper Lomax and Riddoch played key roles in the Hawks side last year.

And Duncombe has high hopes for Boothroyd.

He said: "When I found out Luke was available I knew I had to make him a priority signing.

"Luke has many years experience in the EPL, where he has captained the Manchester Phoenix.

"He is a natural leader who knows how to win games. I can’t wait to work with him next season.

"British players are going to be key to our success next season and in my eyes I have signed the best British defender in the league."

Boothroyd is relishing the challenge of new surroundings at the Hawks having spend nine years with Phoenix.

He said: "I’ve always enjoyed playing games at Blackburn, always had good crowds and strong teams.

"It is going to be a competitive league and looking forward to helping Blackburn be a legitimate top team in the league with the goal to win trophies to continue Blackburn’s success.

"I’ve played with a number of present and former Blackburn players who have always said good things about playing there so it was an easy decision to sign."

Boothroyd will be joined by Lomax and Riddoch who have both committed their futures to Blackburn and Duncombe believes the pair will prove key men in the 2017-18 campaign.

He added: "I am over the moon to have two home grown players back in the Hawks team for the 2017/2018 season.

"Olli is one of our best defence men and is now a veteran of the sport.

"He brings quality on and off the ice and I’m looking forward to seeing how he will work and improve younger players in this coming season.

"Rids defiantly grew on me this past season.

"He brings more than just points to the team he’s become the gel that holds us all together.

"He’s liked by everyone and is guaranteed to keep everyone’s spirits high."

And the pair can see a bright future at Blackburn.

Lomax said: "I’m so energised and excited to be back in year two of our rebuild.

" I need to have a veteran presence in the room and show leadership qualities out on the ice.

"We are going to have a real good tilt in this new league format and I can’t wait to get going."

Riddoch added: "I am very pleased to be signing for the Hawks again, everybody knew last season was going to be tough, but finishing in third place and making those play-offs proved we still had a team that could compete with the best.

"This season the league has changed and a couple of the EPL teams have come down into the NIHL North, the league is getting tougher and I am confident that we will build another team that can compete for another successful season."